It’s time to rebuild and restore

Published December 31, 2021, 12:05 AM

by Pinky Concha-Colmenares


Pinky Concha Colmenares

As relief efforts — the delivery of food and essential items packages — continue, the programs to rebuild houses and restore livelihood in communities have already started at the headquarters of the Negrense Volunteers for Change (NVC) in Bacolod City.


NVC’s response to Typhoon Odette follows the Relief, Rebuild, Restore plan.  A volunteer architect is drawing up a blueprint for simple shelters in marginalized communities severely affected by Typhoon Odette, including the cost of rebuilding each house.  


Meanwhile, NVC has started work on helping restore the economic activity in a community in Ilog, in southern Negros Occidental, where the production of “talaba” (oysters) is the main livelihood.  The program involves an association of 40 talaba growers, a small number compared to the hundreds of thousands displaced by Odette, but it is a small step towards recovery.


In the town of Sipalay, one of the hardest hit areas when Odette made landfall in the province with typhoon no, 4 wind signal on Dec. 17, NVC will soon start on the “Rebuild” work — to rebuild houses that have been destroyed.  NVC has identified one area where the local government unit has agreed to cut the fallen trees into wooden planks that will be used for flooring and posts while NVC will provide materials for roofs and walls of the houses.


With contributions from donors who can choose to rebuild one or more houses, and the labor of the recipients and a team of carpenters to be provided by the LGU, the Rebuild program will soon put up proper shelters for many who are still living in the evacuation centers or living in temporary shelters close to their homes.


“While NVC Foundation continues to accept food donations in kind because hungry stomachs are still present, know that we are now earmarking some of the financial provision we have received (and hope to continue receiving) for the rebuilding of homes and restoration of livelihoods lost,” Millie L. Kilayko, NVC president said.


This lady and her team have worked through the Christmas holidays, preparing relief packs, sending them to far-flung towns, and planning initiatives for the recovery of the affected communities.  I have known Millie for more than 50 years and I know she will get the job done until the last shelter is rebuilt, and livelihood tools are set in place.  


She did that with her team of volunteers after super typhoon Yolanda devastated many parts of the Visayas in 2013 — with a program that provided over 4,000 motorized bancas to fishermen, equipment for livelihood (like sewing machines), and bringing hope to many.  To me, the foundation gives me hope that there are still many good people in this world.  


“Until we can complete the circle — Relief, Rebuild, Restore — the people whose lives were shattered by Typhoon Odette can never be truly whole again. We will appreciate assistance towards NVC’s REBUILD and RESTORE programs. We are a small organization and we cannot do everything but we hope to implement an efficient response in little corners where we fit,” Millie said.


May Millie’s tribe increase.  You can join her; inquire what you can do at [email protected].